Teacup Galaxy

Ruby specialises in galaxies.

Galaxy of Ruby Brilliant

Watercolour shapes and galaxies.

Delicate pastel watercolour shapes with fluid interiors and defined edges…

and galaxies.

Teacup and Galaxy
Jennie and Ruby
mother/child art

Niece Ruby is thirteen. She’s found her artist medium and content. For now.

The labour of love,

the neural pathway-powering concentration,

the exquisite immersion in detail.

The calm, the absorption, the creativity, the flow.

Not for her the formulaic, dehydrated art education on offer in many early high school classes.

For her, the uniqueness of it.

The specific layering of materials.

Watercolour brilliants, an aquabrush, a facial tissue, some glue, a white pen.

It doesn’t take much space to be a slender thirteen year old expanding ever-outwards into interplanetary dream play. 

Her mum adds a teacup, an earth, a teapot. Ruby decorates it.

Teacup, Earth and Galaxy
Ruby and Jen
mother/child art

I come in,

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Exquisite Level of Care

How are you

at balancing

other-care with self-care?

Is it a bit of a challenge?

A lot of a challenge?

A Dementia Australia counsellor told me that I offer an ‘exquisite level of care’.

I breathed in the fine compliment. I breathed out a delicately complex response, including a watercolour-plus-collage artwork – a paintage.

I’m showing you the pretty bits and leaving out the grisly ones. Ah yes well. Sometimes it’s a grisly process, this caring palaver.

Exquisite Level of Care
art fragment
Sally Swain

Here’s the question of the day (or year or lifetime):

How might we apply

an Exquisite Level of Care

to ourselves!?

Last weekend I led ‘Nourish and Flourish – the Art of Self-Care’. It was my first Art and Soul playshop in a while. Why? Because I’ve been caught up in eldercare.

Nourish and Flourish was delicious.

Nourish and Flourish
the Art of Self-Care
playshop participants
making heartfelt, gorgeous, authentic art

Nourish and Flourish
the Art of Self-Care
playshop participants
making heartfelt, gorgeous, authentic art

What sorts of things happened in the playshop?

I invited participants to consider…if their care for OTHERS had a colour, shape, texture, sound, title … for this moment … what might it be?

If their SELF care for this moment had a colour, shape, texture, sound, title, how would that look and feel?

Participants wrote or made art in response to this contemplation.

What else?

They each chose a miniature from the sandplay collection to represent their ally or companion on the journey.

We heard different individual self-care strategies. We pooled them. They range from dancing to reading with a cat on your lap; surfing to spending time with friends; saying No to having a massage.

Nourish and Flourish
the Art of Self-Care
a playshop participant
making heartfelt, gorgeous, authentic art

Nourish and Flourish
the Art of Self-Care
a playshop participant
making heartfelt, gorgeous, authentic art

We did a walking sensory awareness meditation. We sipped tea. We ate chocolate. Or healthy stuff, as the case may be.

The dear participants

each made art, art and more art.

They found ways to nourish themselves

in the process of making art about self-care. 

It was a treat for me to host these splendid Art and Soulies; exploring, playing, being authentic, expressing joys and difficulties, beautifully showing kindness and insight as they offered positive feedback to one another.

Nourish and Flourish
the Art of Self-Care
a playshop participant
making heartfelt, gorgeous, authentic art

Nourish and Flourish
the Art of Self-Care
a playshop participant
making heartfelt, gorgeous, authentic art

Gratitude. I feel gratitude.


I do believe the next Art and Soul offering

is probably Saturday 13th July.

Most likely it’ll be

the annual ‘Creative Flame’ playshop.

Maybe see you there.

with love, art and soul

from Sally

Exquisite Level of Care
art fragment
Sally Swain

The Anti Polo Melted Chocolate Art Captain Society

provided the most fun I’ve had in ages. The sort of fun that includes getting the giggles. Uncontrollably. Even if you are sixty. Let’s travel back to early January.

Five of us arrive from far-flung corners of the country, meeting at a gorgeous Sydney harbour pool.

There’s Jennie my sister, Ruby my twelve year old niece, Marg my friend and colleague and Tara her thirteen year old daughter.

creative play group pictre

The Anti Polo Melted Chocolate Art Captain Society
combined picture by Ruby, Tara, Marg, Jennie and Sally (in order from youngest to oldest)

The swimming’s done. It’s time for art. We have watercolour Brilliants, waterbrushes, pens and five small pieces of paper.

Shall we do a group project?

Will it be a serious reflection on the year that was, or a visioning for the new year? No. We opt for non-serious.

Tara suggests a paint-a-bit-and-pass-it-on process.

You fold your page into five sections. You start with the head of a person, animal or hitherto undiscovered creature, then fold it over so it’s invisible. The next person, uses the reference marks you made to paint the neck and shoulders of a creature onto the next fold. And so on.

creative play joy painting

The Anti Polo Melted Chocolate Art Captain Society
combined picture by Ruby, Tara, Marg, Jennie and Sally (in order from youngest to oldest)

Then

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with a little bit of bloomin’ art

It’s Mental Health Month here in Oz.

Wednesday was Mental Health Day.

Just as well, says Sally, as I was feeling super-stressed and I had the opportunity to attend Qi Gong class while watching the rain lollop down the window pane. That helped.

Art helps.

Writing helps.

Creative expression helps to alleviate stress big-time.

And small-time. That is, even if you have only a small rainy window pane to express your pain, or simply play with colour, it helps.

collaborative art children

A collaborative three-way art-play from last school holidays

You might remember Aunty Art Café. It’s one of the occasions I’ve shared with you school holiday art-making experiences with my niece. Fun.

Aunty Art Cafe

watercolour art co-creation

Upside Down Waterscape

This school holiday, my niece, sister and I had one hour. Just a little bit of bloomin’ art-making time. (please excuse the My Fair Lady song reference. Do you know ‘With a Little Bit of Bloomin’ Luck’ from another era?)

One hour. What shall we do?

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Even told the golden daffodils

There’s a song. It begins:

Once I had a secret love

It ends:

Now I shout it from the highest hills

Even told the golden daffodils

 

At last my heart’s an open door

And my secret love’s no secret any more.

Sally Swain art

Daffy and Friends
Sally Swain © original art

And my secret love is….

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The Joy of Making Art Together

My sister and niece visit from interstate about four times a year.

We try to squeeze an art play session in there in amongst the family events schedule.

butterfly art glitter

Ruby’s Butterfly

We let loose.

We love our shared art-making.

We are all together, yet each working on our own piece.

We coast between silent absorption and chit-chatting or singing. Sometimes there’s a drama

when the picture ‘goes wrong’. We usually get through that, out the other side and sail to the land of art-making happiness.

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What keeps me awake

I promised the Big Art Heart Reveal last week.

I promised to explain the abundance of hearts leaping out of my paintbrush.

watercolour heart art

Unusually Zen Heart
watercolour
and white pen

My Dad taught me to always keep a promise, so here’s the story behind the hearts…

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Tree Truth

This story straight out of the Creative Love Exchange

is Part one of a Treelogy

Tree Truth 1 Entwined

Tree Truth 1

A lovely Psychodrama person rings me from far yonder. She requests my arty input into a banner for this week’s Australia/NZ conference in Sydney.

I hum. I ha. I say

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